Things to Do in Kailua & Kona, Hawaii

Things to Do in Kailua & Kona, Hawaii
Located on the leeward side of the Big Island, Kailua-Kona offers a wealth of activities on water and land, highlighted by an idyllic year-round climate and beautiful, natural surroundings. Situated in the shadow of Hualalai mountain, Kailua-Kona is the commercial hub of the Big Island's Kona district, presenting myriad options for travelers, whether resort dwellers or adventurers.

Hike to a Remote Beach

One of the most pristine beaches in the entire state of Hawaii, Makalawena requires effort on the part of visitors to reach its golden shores. A 20-minute drive down a rough, dirt road leads to a sand parking lot at Kehaha Kai State Park, just south of your destination. A 30-minute hike across a hot lava field unfolds into a beautiful oasis of crystal-blue waters, powder-white sand, soothing lagoons, a bird sanctuary and an ancient queens' bath fed with brackish water from the neighboring mountains.

Surf Kahaluu Bay

Easy, gentle waves at Kahaluu Beach Park provide beginning surfers the opportunity to learn the basics of the sport. Located in the heart of Keauhou-Kona, this calm, protected bay features picnic tables, barbecue grills, public restrooms and outdoor showers. An ancient surfing shrine stands sentry at the bay.

Explore Hawaii's First Capital

The first capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Kailua-Kona was the final home of King Kamehameha the Great, who lived the last years of his life at a compound located adjacent to where Kailua Pier sits today. This sacred site is highlighted by Ahu'ena Heiau, a restored temple overlooking Kailua Bay. Stroll the grounds of this historic place located near King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel, and learn about the history of Hawaii's most famous king.

King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
75-5600 Palani Road
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 329-2911

Swim the Ironman Course

Each year in October, the grueling Ironman World Championships triathlon starts at Kailua Bay with the 2.4 mile swim from the pier to the Royal Kona Resort and back. If you are a long-distance swimmer, you will not want to miss the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the greatest triathletes in the world. The swim course is longer than it looks, so be sure to take an escort with you.

Article Written By Karen Sprinkles

Karen Sprinkles has been a freelance writer since 1988. She's currently the managing editor of a luxury home magazine and has written for regional newspapers and magazines. Sprinkles received the Award of Excellence from the Hawaii Book Publishers Association for "The Hawaii Home Book," which reached No. 1 on the Hawaii bestsellers list. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California.

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